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ELL Families and Schools - Essay Example

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The interaction between schools and ELL families has been recognized to be very imperative to build strong amiable bridges that boost students’ learning and aptitude in the second language. A research conducted to assist in implementing guidelines for ‘No child should be left behind act’ revealed that the engagement of parents in school activities and programs escalates the learner’s prospect of success to a great extent…
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ELL Families and Schools
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The interaction between schools and ELL families has been recognized to be very imperative to build strong amiable bridges that boost learning and aptitude in the second language. A research conducted to assist in implementing guidelines for ‘No child should be left behind act’ revealed that the engagement of parents in school activities and programs escalates the learner’s prospect of success to a great extent. The role of the teacher is to persuade parents to provide support to the efforts of their children in comprehending a new language in the diverse multi-cultural environment at school. For the development of the ELL students it is necessary to conduit the gap between home and schools where teachers and parents form a cordial relationship of partnership with the endeavor to provide effective guidance, and teaching to the children. The relationship between family and teachers is very crucial for strengthening the school as an establishment that wholly supports English Language Learners. Fostering a relation with the ELL family is the sole responsibility of the school. The family needs to be well-informed by the teachers about the developmental phases and the changes that the children will go through in the future classes. This specific information will assist the family in building a home environment that supports, encourages and appreciates learning as an essential part of their children’s success (Yates, &Ortiz, 1998). Moreover, the manner in which the teachers approach and interact with the parents on the enrollment day and first day of school can have an intense effect on both the parents and their children in developing a positive attitude and experience of both the school and the education. Additionally, through this specific communication the school can gain knowledge about the cultural environment of the families which will facilitate the former in comprehending specific goals aimed at successfully assisting the children in learning the second language (Brieseth, Robertson, & Lafond, 2011, 15-20). Children come from diverse cultural environments and have different outlook of behaviors at schools or other social interactions. The teachers should be unprejudiced towards individual aptitudes and necessities of the students in the classroom especially in those educational projects where the children are taught accountability and conscientiousness in class community groups. This social-cultural influence on ELLs between school and teacher association is a component of the bigger social-cultural influences that have an effect on them in innumerable ways including the way they intermingle with each other (Cummins, 1994, 40-41). There are various socio-cultural factors which affects the literacy attainment and progress of the child – immigration status; discourse/interactional characteristics; parents and family influences; district, state and federal policies; and language status and prestige. In fact, family customs, outlook towards education, discipline manners and chauvinism also play a major role in determining how well ELL children are able to deal with the changes they confront in a new country, school, and home environment. Moreover, they are also affected by their families’ way of tackling with the new surroundings for instance, there are families who in order to incorporate the American culture in their lives impede practicing their own customs. This creates additional stress for the children who are already struggling to learn the new language along with fulfilling the social expectations of their peers and teachers (August & Shanahan, 2006, 7-8). In recent years, there has been continuous debate on the efficacy of bilingualism and home language use in enhancing the learning of the second language. Bilingualism has been defined as the adding up or acquirement of a second language, in this case English, besides the native or the first language. The National Center for research on Cultural diversity and Second language has stated that most educational institutions have the incorrect predetermined opinions and suppositions that second language learners who come from diverse cultural or linguistic backgrounds have language drawbacks since they come from families who are deficient in intellectual and social resources. As a result, teachers often expect lower academic outcomes from these students (Gonzalez et al., 1994). In fact, many ELL parents also fail to notice the significance of speaking to their children in their native language in their haste to assimilate in the new environment (Broekhuizen, n.d). The use of home language assists in learning English by preserving cognitive facets in bilingualism and skills in learning different languages of the ELL students. Students have shown enhanced performance when they read or use material that is in the language they know better. Comprehension, too, is facilitated by ethnically meaningful or well-known reading material (August, & Shanahan, 2006, 8-9). The capability of ELL students to learn English as a second language is also majorly influenced by their first or native language development and proficiency in it. Sufficient linguistic and cognitive training in a home language has been revealed to contribute positively to second language learning (Cummins, 1994, 42). Thus, the importance of the quality of language which children carry to international schools, i.e. their native language, and the amount of time they had spent to establish proficiency in it, has been duly acknowledged (Robinson, Keogh & Kusuma-Powell, n.d). However, harmonizing their home language with English becomes really difficult for ELL students because of the restricted or no access that they have to proficient English or bilingual instructions along with other hurdles shooting from ethnical or linguistic disparities. Difficulties in the learning and teaching environment have been ascribed to be the major reason behind the academic failure of many ELL students. Amendment of instructions as per the specific needs of the ELL students should be done by the teacher in order to help the efforts of these students in bridging the accomplishment gaps between them and their peers. After the general assessments are done, the teachers should provide specific instructions to students with explicit learning disabilities in cultural or linguistic assessment in appropriate teachings (Yates& Ortiz, 1998). Genzuk has stated that teachers who can embrace a great degree of understanding of the social environment the ELL students come from into their educational instruction are truly capable of enhancing language accomplishments for their students (1999). Moreover, parents who are not proficient in English language should provide effectual learning to their children in their native tongue as this will enhance the intellectual capacities of their children (Broekhuizen, n.d). Gonzalez et al. have emphasized the importance of funds of knowledge – knowledge that are developed from accrued stratagems which comprises aptitudes, practices, expertise and notions that are crucial for the functioning and the wellbeing of the household. The local library network or classroom practice that has been augmented, altered or developed on the basis of these existing funds of knowledge in the different households belonging to minority ELL students forms a good parental and community resource for English acquisition (1994). The importance of existing funds of knowledge has been recognized by the teachers who have adopted the traditional practice of visiting the ELL’s home where they can talk about that ELL student’s specific problems with the parents. Moreover, the teachers can provide propositions to improvise the student’s troubled areas of education. In this way the teachers are able to document and recognize existing knowledge of ELL families too. Additionally, the funds of knowledge being a transformative principle boost teacher’s practice as insightful practitioners and learners. The sources of these funds of knowledge are varied and plentiful covering trade, finance, business, construction, farming, and animal husbandry (Gonzalez et al., 1994). School and home partnerships with ELL families can be enhanced by bridging the gap between home and schools where teachers and parents hold a relationship of alliance and partnership with the aim of successfully guiding, teaching and nurturing the children. In addition, the ELL students’ limitations and problems in learning ability are discussed and appropriate solutions are recommended for enhancement (Cummins, 1994, 43-44). An efficient strategy for this would be the traditional concept of home visits made by the teachers to discuss the child’s performance with his/her parents. This aspect in funds of knowledge majorly contributes in building strong unity and cordial relationships between the school and parents. Moreover, the school can improvise its efforts in becoming involved with community and families of English learners, and also comprehend the social, cultural and linguistic milieu of the children by building effectual collaborative community to school relationships (Gonzalez et al., 1994). To conclude, it can be said that a cordial relationship between the teachers and parents is very crucial for the successful language attainment of ELL students. In order to better support the ELL students, the teachers should provide teachings and instructions keeping in mind the diverse linguistic backgrounds of these students. The predicted results should be conversed with the parents and students to accomplish enhanced outcomes. Moreover, it is vital to consider the association between teachers, school and parents and community from the socio-cultural viewpoint. Enhancement of the resources and mutual efforts between community and school is also important for building a strong relation between parents and teachers. References August, D. & Shanahan, T (eds.) (2006). Developing Literacy in Second-Language Learners: Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth [Executive Summary]. Retrieved from Breiseth, L., Robertson, K., & Lafond, S. (2011, August). A Guide for Engaging ELL Families: Twenty Strategies for School Leaders [PDF document]. Retrieved from Colorin Colorado website Families.pdf Broekhuizen, L. V. (n.d). Parents and bilingual learners: The Importance of Fostering First Language Development at Home [PDF document]. Retrieved from PREL online website Cummins, J. (1994). Knowledge, power, and identity in teaching English as a second language. In Educating Second Language Children (pp. 33-58). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Genzuk, M. (1999). Tapping into community funds of knowledge. In Effective strategies for English language acquisition: Curriculum Guide for the Professional Development of Teachers Grades Kindergarten through Eight (pp. 9-21). Los Angeles Annenberg Metropolitan Foundation/ ARCO Foundation: Los Angeles. Retrieved from ARCO Funds of Knowlegde.pdf Gonzalez, N., Moll, L.C., Floyd-Tenery, M., Rivera, A., Rendon, P., Gonzales, R., & Amanti, C. (1994, Feb.). Funds of Knowledge: Learning from Language Minority Households. Centre for Applied Linguistics. Retrieved from Robinson, N., Keogh, B., & Kusuma-Powell, O. (2000). Who Are ESL Students? In Count me in: Developing Inclusive International Schools (chap 6). Washington, D.C.: Overseas Schools Advisory Council Department of State: Yates, J. R., & Ortiz, A. (1998). Issues of culture and diversity affecting educators with disabilities: A Change in demography is reshaping America. In R. J. Anderson, C. E. Keller, & J. M. Karp (Eds.), Enhancing Diversity: Educators with Disabilities in the Education Enterprise (pp. 21–37). Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press Read More
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